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11 years later, Mars rover Opportunity passes marathon mark

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004, passed marathon distance in total driving on March 24, 2015, during the mission's 3,968th Martian day, or sol. .
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004, passed marathon distance in total driving on March 24, 2015, during the mission's 3,968th Martian day, or sol. . NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS

PASADENA, Calif. – NASA says the Opportunity rover has passed the marathon mark for driving on Mars.

The space agency said Tuesday the rover’s odometer checked in at 26.2 miles (42.1 kilometres) – the distance of a marathon.

READ MORE: NASA findings suggest ancient Mars was once watery world

The official time? Eleven years and two months.

Scientists and engineers will celebrate Opportunity’s achievement by holding their own marathon relay at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the mission.

Last year, Opportunity broke the record for off-Earth distance travelled that was previously held by the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 moon rover.

Opportunity and its twin Spirit landed on Mars in January 2004 for what was supposed to be a three-month mission. Both uncovered geologic signs of ancient water.

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